The number of "waiting days" for the Illness Benefit has been reduced back to three days, the Social Protection Minister has announced.
Illness Benefit will now be paid on the fourth day of illness.
Since January 2014, payment of Illness Benefit commenced from the seventh day of illness and no payment was made for the first six days, known as ‘waiting days’.
The commitment to cut the waiting days was made in the Budget in October and has come into effect as of today.
Minister Humphreys reducing the number of "waiting days" will "help reduce the financial burden for employees" who become ill.
“The majority of people who become ill are only ill for a short period of time. For the past number of years, all employees who became ill and claimed Illness Benefit from the Department of Social Protection were not paid for the first week (six days) that they were out of work.
“Many of these employees continued to go into work when they were not well, to avoid loss of income.
“Restoring the number of ‘waiting days’ for Illness Benefit back to the original three days, will help reduce the financial burden for employees who become ill and allow them time off work without the level of income loss that they might have experienced up to now."
Last year the Department of Social Protection received some 200,000 applications for Illness Benefit and each of those employees would have had to undergo six waiting days.
There are no waiting days for the special Covid-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit payment which is paid from day one of a person being diagnosed or required to self-isolate.